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March 21, 2006
In October of last year, Dick Cheney's chief of staff was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction, and lying to the FBI about how he discovered covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, and leaked it to the media. His trial is upcoming, and looks as though it will expose more than the Bush administration would like.
Papers filed on Friday raise the possibility that the trial will focus on the debate about whether or not the White House manipulated intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Lawyers have also signaled that, at Libby's criminal trial, they will "delve deeply" into infighting that occurred among the White House, CIA and State Department over intelligence failures that occurred before the war. They have also suggested that the State Department, rather than Libby himself, may be to blame for leading Plame's identity.
Libby's defense lawyers are playing along quite well, pointing out that Plame's CIA status was merely a "peripheral issue" to Libby, as he was much too wrapped up in "the finger-pointing that went on within the executive branch about who was to blame" for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
"If the jury learns this background information [about finger-pointing] and also understands Mr. Libby's additional focus on urgent national security matters," the defense lawyers said, "[they] will more easily appreciate how Mr. Libby may have forgotten or misremembered snippets of conversation [about Plame's CIA status.]"
Libby's lawyers also concluded that "the facts show" that someone from the State Department, rather than Libby, leaked Plame's identity to conservative columnist Robert Novak.
And should the State Department undergo investigation, who knows what else could be uncovered...
Narges Niedzwiecki is a long time supporter of Latinos for America. Democracy for America welcomes LFA columnists on Tuesdays.
"The war is being paid for with the lives of young Latinos, many of whom went to Iraq under force or deception," Fernando Suarez, leader of "Guerrero Azteca" (Aztec Warrior), a movement that demands the United States withdraw its troops from the Middle East.
Now more than ever, the unjust war in Iraq is a Latino issue. Recently there has been a sharp rise in the number of Latinos who have died during the occupation of Iraq. Of the 135,000 troops presently fighting in Iraq, roughly 22 percent are of Latino descent. Many Latinos sign up for military service because they are enticed by the promise of citizenship, credit and funding for university education. As a patriotic measure, the US Department of Defense has granted US citizenship status to fallen soldiers, posthumously.
The US Army reports a 23 percent drop in recruitment of new soldiers. As a result, bilingual recruitment in predominantly Latino neighborhoods has increased. Spanish-language networks like Univision and Telemundo help sell the military's campaign in an effort to recruit more Latinos. One of the main motivations for enlistment is the sense of patriotism that first and second generation Latinos feel to their newly-adopted nation. Recruiters attend high schools, churches, swap meets, and special Latino events in an effort to increase contact and recruitment.
Not all Latinos, though, are in step with the military's recruitment. The time to act is now. The Latino community cannot afford to sacrifice their youth. Community lead grassroots anti-recruitment efforts and organization are necessary to combat aggressive recruitment, confusion among immigrant parents and false promises.
As of March 2006, there have been 2,318 confirmed US military fatalities in the Iraq War, of which roughly 12 percent are Latinos. The glorification of war within our society coupled with the ultimate sacrifice for flag and country has created the idea of tragic nobility, the fallen warrior. What's forgotten in this dismal image is that ultimately, war is murder.
March 20, 2006
Sacramento for Democracy co-hosted their last of three anti-war rallies in the city on Saturday, March 18th. The streetcorner at at 16th & Broadway was packed with over 400 activists who held reminders of this war's casualties, and the lack of accountability for the reasons behind invading Iraq.
This series of Saturday rallies, which started on March 4, were multi-national, multi-issue protests focusing on the illegal, bungled occupation of Iraq, now slipping into full blown-civil war.
The third anniversary of the "greatest strategic disaster in United States history" (retired Gen. William Odom) coincides with the Pentagon's announcement of three Americans' deaths in Iraq, bringing the U. S. military casualty total to at least 2,315 dead and 17,100 wounded since the beginning of the war in March 2003. Estimates of the total number of dead in Iraq in consequence of the war are as high as 500,000.
You can view more photos of the event at the IndyBay.org.
Bush sees progress in Iraq, despite lack of support
President Bush spoke today in Cleveland, saying that, despite Americans' dismayal with the war in Iraq, he sees signs of progress. "The situation on the ground remains tense," Bush told an audience at the City Club of Cleveland. "In the face of continued reports about killings and reprisals, I understand how some Americans have had their confidence shaken. Others look at the violence they see each night on their television screens, and they wonder how I can remain so optimistic about the prospects of success in Iraq. They wonder what I see that they don't." Couldn't have been said better! We've been wondering this too.
Rumsfeld's analogy wrong
Former top officials of two previous presidential administrations, one Democractic and the other Republican, disagreed with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's characterization of what would happen if the US were to pull-out of Iraq. "Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," Rumsfeld wrote Sunday in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post.
Katrina death toll still rising
Two more bodies were uncovered in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward yesterday, casualties from Hurricane Katrina. So far, Louisiana has reported 1,100 hurricane-related deaths. 231 lives were claimed in Mississippi. The latest bodies were found in a collapsed house while rubble was being cleared.
The beginning of this year brought chaos for many seniors as they felt the ramifications of the poorly designed program known as Medicare Part D, which allows private companies to design and sell insurance plans offering prescription drug coverage. The program began on January 1, and was marked with the usual incompetence one can expect from Republicans and the Bush Administration.
Last week, President Bush apathetically described the program's inception as "interesting," and said that this program, which contained errors that left large numbers of seniors at least temporarily denied coverage, was a "good deal" for seniors and taxpayers.
Democrats, who foresaw the program's problems and voted overwhelmingly against its creation, plan to hold Republicans accountable for the program's flaws in elections later this year. Generally, Democrats favor benefits provided directly by the government, rather than through private companies.
The President urged seniors to sign up for this program which, according to him, "makes a lot of sense." He couldn't have put it better. It makes perfect sense that the Bush Administration, in its typical fashion, has ignored the needs of low-income and middle-class Americans to line the pockets of big business.
The White House projects that Medicare spending in 2006 will be 20% lower than was estimated last year.
RAISE OKLAHOMA, an initiative petition campaign to put a raise in the minimum wage on the November ballot in Oklahoma, was officially formed Saturday, March 11, by a coalition of concerned groups and individuals in Oklahoma City.
Seventeen other states have instituted state minimum wage laws, with legislation in Michigan reaching the governor's desk just last week, which would make that state the eighteenth. It has been almost nine years since the last raise in the Federal minimum wage.
The three Democracy For America groups in Oklahoma are spearheading the organizational drive, but other groups have signed on to fully support the effort, such as the United Auto Workers, League of United Latin American Citizens, INDN's List, the Oklahoma Democratic Party, and county Democratic parties. Other groups have been contacted and their support is forthcoming.
The draft petition, the language of which has not yet been approved by the Attorney General and Secretary of State, calls for the minimum wage to be raised one dollar the first year, one dollar the second year, then thereafter the raises will be indexed to the Consumer Price Index and US government-formulated inflation indices.
The signature drive will begin immediately upon approval of the petition language. A base amount of approximately 107,000 signatures is required, but a goal of at least 140,000 has been set. Time is short, but a comprehensive strategy is in place to achieve the goal within the limited time frame.
RAISE OKLAHOMA PAC has been formed to provide the committee structure for the effort.
I want to urge all interested groups and individuals to volunteer some time to make this effort successful. Contact me at [email protected] or call me at 405-313-1050 for information.
I know everyone on this board realizes the political benefits that can accrue for Democrats with this issue, but the truth is, we are doing it simply because the working poor of Oklahoma deserve to live with dignity, and support their families with the basics of decent food, clothing, shelter and health care. You can debate the timing, you can bemoan the imaginary job losses, and you can lament the ten-cent rise in your Burger King Whopper, but the time for a raise is way overdue. And if not now, when? If not us, who?
Please help us with this effort. There are many ways to pitch in. We'll raise the standard of living in Oklahoma, and stimulate the consumer spending necessary to a healthy economy. If we do nothing else in our lifetimes, we will have made a significant contribution to our state with this.
But let's not stop there. This is just the beginning.
March 19, 2006
Democracy for Missouri has become involved with the Leave My Child Alone program in an effort to educate parents about the student information that schools are required to provide for military recruiters as a provision of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Act mandates that public schools allow military recruiters on campus, providing them with names, addresses, and phone numbers of all high school juniors and seniors upon request, or else risk losing federal funding.
Most parents are unaware not only that schools give such information to recruiters, but also that the law also requires schools to notify parents that this happens, as well of their right to "opt-out," keeping the information private from recruiters. This is because instructions about privacy rights are often hard to find, if not nonexistent.
In the past year, 37,000 parents have downloaded opt-out forms available on the Leave My Child Alone Web site. However, according to Felicity Crush, spokesperson for the organization, parental notification "doesn't happen in some districts, and the policy varies wildly from district to district. I think that, administratively, it is not clear how to [opt-out]."
This disorganization proved fatal for John Johnson of St. Louis, MO, whose daughter, LaVena, was convinced by recruiters that joining the Army was her one shot at being able to afford college. Johnson assured LaVena that he would make sure she and her younger sister would receive a college education, even if it meant that he had to work two jobs. LaVena, however, wanted to be independent and pay her own way through school, and military recruiters aggressively painted her a picture of her doing so with military funding, assuring her that, because she was a woman, the possibility of ending up in Iraq was remote.
On July 19, 2005, little a year after graduating from high school, LaVena became the first Missouri woman to die in Iraq. She was 19.
"She thought she was safe on a military base," Johnson said. "She wasn't." Her death is currently under criminal investigation by the Army. After her death, Johnson discovered an Army flier tucked away in her dresser. It said "earn $25,000 toward college."
Sickeningly, military recruiters will not stop calling LaVena's younger sister, now a high school senior, at home and approaching her at school, even after being notified of LaVena's death in Iraq.
Frank Smith, principal of Hazelwood Central, the school LaVena attended, said that he notifies parents about the release of student information in a back-to-school newsletter, but the Johnsons never saw the notice. Smith maintained that he sees no harm in giving recruiters access to the campus and to students' personal information, and that when military fliers arrived at his house, "we just tore them up."
"The military offers opportunities like any other business," Smith said. "But the price [of those opportunities] could be death. That's the difference between what the military offers and what other careers offer."
Columbia, MO school board member Darin Preis began looking into the issue last year, at the urging of Democracy for Missouri president Bill Monroe, who invited him to an informational meeting about the provisions mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.
"I became concerned about the inconsistencies between what the law says and what parents are told," Preis said. As a result, he said, "there will be a page in the student handbook next year that very explicitly says parents have the option to withhold their children's information." An opt-out form will also be included in the student handbook.
Jeff Stack of Mid-Missouri Fellowship for Reconciliation, who has been providing information to students and parents on countering military recruitment efforts for ten years, said that "this is a good beginning," and wants students to realize that "the military is primarily a fighting force, not a job training program."
Stack does not believe that the district has any "malicious" intents, but rather that they "are just trying to work through new ground," and would like to see letters sent out to parents in the summer, allowing them to opt-out before recruiters acquire lists at the beginning of the school year.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GenerationDFA group has been producing high-quality newsletters for distribution on campus. The newsletters, called The Liberal Media, contain not only news updates and bracing commentary, but humor as well. The folks at GenDFA UIUC have generously offered their permission to redistribute these high-quality newsletterstake a look:
This Week (ABC) - Military veterans Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) will join the program to talk about how they rate success in Iraq and when U.S. troops may head home. George Will, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson will come together for a roundtable discussion of this week in politics.
Face the Nation (CBS) - CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer will be speaking to Vice President Dick Cheney in an exclusive live interview.
Meet the Press (NBC) - This week on "Meet the Press," Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and Commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, will talk about the status on the ground in Iraq and their view of the length of this conflict.
Chris Matthews Show (NBC) - Chris will be discussing the dissent within the ranks of Bush's administration, as well as the possible presidential run of Hillary Clinton in '08 with Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, David Gregory of NBC News, Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times and Andrew Sullivan of New Republic Magazine and Time Magazine.
Fox News Sunday (Fox News) - This week, Fox News Sunday will be talking to Sen. Richard Durbin on the censure of President Bush over NSA surveillance program.
Late Edition (CNN) will feature Ahmed Chalabi: Iraqi deputy prime minister, Sen. Richard Lugar(R-IN): Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE): Foreign Relations Committee, Abdullah Abdullah: Afghanistan minister of foreign affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski: former national security adviser and Henry Kissinger: former secretary of state to speak about the state of Iraq, three years after the start of the war.
60 Minutes (CBS) This week's 60 Minutes tells the story of the 37,000-person strong New York Police Department. Larger than the national army of a small country, this mammoth police force has been charged with the critical task defending the city and becoming an "army against terror."
March 18, 2006
Democracy for Tennessee has been holding successful campaign trainings for the last few weeks. Check out their photos and stories from the Knoxville event!
Our largest crowd yet filled the Knoxville Center Mall's community room to capacity as over 60 activists, volunteers, and candidates turned out for Democracy for Tennessee's "Root Camp" grassroots campaign training seminar.
There was an early-morning scramble to round up enough tables and chairs, but thanks to the efforts of Knox County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Gray and Democracy for Knoxville's Paul Witt, the seating crisis was averted! As usual, there was a brief presentation by DFT Chair Mark Naccarato on the people-powered progressive movement that Democracy for Tennessee is spreading across the Volunteer State. After that, it was time for our "Creating a Campaign" interactive workshop, where "Campers" learned about campaign themes and the types of messages that reinforce those themes. Campers then were introduced to our perennial fictitious candidate, Jane Smith, who is running in a nonpartisan Mayor's race against the uber-conservative incumbent Jack Jones in the Tennessee town of Stepford. Before long, Campers were laying out Jane's campaign theme and her positive platform to bring change to Stepford County.
After constructing Jane's campaign platform, it was time to figure out how to get the message out about Jane and her campaign. Our guest trainer, Jim Grinstead (pictured above), a veternan journalist, publisher, and public relations expert, led the "Read All About It!" workshop on communications and press relations. Thanks to Jim's expertise and real-life media experience, Campers now have a better idea on how to get free media for their candidate, issue, or event.
After the communications workshop, it was time for a working lunch session on "Crunching the Numbers". Freda Player, Outreach Director of the Tennessee Democratic Party (above), gave an a/v presentation that showed Campers how to analyze a voter data list, sort it along various geographic and demographic categories, and create a "walk list" for canvassing or phonebanking. She also talked about "scoring" candidates by political party, issue interests, or by their voting patterns. This was an invaluable tool in helping activists target the voters they are trying to reach.
Then came our "For the Cause" workshop, led by DFT's Field Director Georgia Weindling, which taught Campers how to manage the most valuable resource in any campaign... volunteers! It was a great 'How To' guide in making sure that campaign volunteers are used efficiently, are properly trained, and - most importantly - feel like they are appreciated and respected by the campaign and the candidates.
And then, as is the custom of all Root Camp programs put on by DFT, the day ended in a Door-to-Door Training and Roleplaying session. Here is where most of the day's skills pulled together as our Campers broke up into groups and practiced their door knocking skills by trying to get voters (the trainers) to support and vote for Jane Smith for Mayor. As always, this workshop was the most fun and our Campers learned alot about themselves and about how difficult it is to have genuine conversations at the doors of total strangers. In the end, all of the Trainers agreed that this was one of the best groups of canvassers so far in the Root Camp program.
After the workshops officially ended, we celebrated Georgia Weindling's birthday with chocolate cake and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday".
Then it was on to our special session, where local candidates found out about Democracy for Tennessee's Candidate Training School and about our endorsement process.
This was undoubtedly one of the most successful Camps to date and DFT's thanks goes out to all who attended Camp Knoxville! If you live in East Tennessee and want an even more intense and detailed grassroots training, make sure to sign up for the DFA Training Academy, coming to Asheville, North Carolina on May 6 & 7.
Around 38 years ago, then-President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not run for re-election. The announcement was the culmination of the War in Vietnam that had cost the lives of tens of thousands of serviceman and women, wounded many thousands more, and killed hundreds of thousands of civiliansall for the sake of fighting an ideology that had nothing to do with the reality of governance or even the realities of our national security.
I remember how horrified I was to see our troops come home to an unwelcoming America that had been polarized by the war and struggled with the notion that we had "lost." Most of these troops had not gone to Viet Nam by choice. They were draftees. These men, women, and their families bore the brunt of an America that was mired in failure and confusion. Make no mistake, this failure and confusion was the responsibility of our highest elected officials and their policy wonks who incredibly misunderstood that we were fighting on the wrong side of a war of independence; a failure by leaders who never had to bear the true consequences of the war, or even be held accountable.
As a young teenager, I remember feeling that sense of failure. I remember the feeling of relief that the War in Viet Nam was over. And I remember the resolve and feeling that no human being of my generation could possibly be incompetent, immoral, and dishonest enough to repeat these same mistakes over again.
On the third anniversary of the start of the War in Iraq, Lyndon Johnson looks like General Eisenhower.
We all know why.
And we all know that the outcome of the War in Iraq must be different. We honor those who serve our country by praying for their safe and speedy return home. We also honor them by making sure that justice comes to those who have been so incompetent and dishonest in the prosecution of the War in Iraq, the war on terror, and so divided this country.
Let's finish the job. Let's bring the President to justice. Because the lessons of Vietnam have taught us that only justice will ensure that no President, member of Congress, or policy bureaucrat ever brings this kind of dishonor to our country and our Democratic institutions again.
March 17, 2006
The Ashland Senior Center was packed as a politically diverse crowd gathered to voice their concerns about the Bush Administration's planned yard sale of our Mark Twain National Forest land to "Fund roads and schools". Democracy for Missouri played a hand in spreading the word about this gathering organized by Steve Hollis and an ad hoc non-partisan group of Forest neighbors.
This event drew folks from all over mid-Missouri including elected officials and Candidates as well as Forest Service officials and was covered by TV Stations from Columbia, Jeffersn City and St Louis. This is a National issue. Hopefully similar meetings are happening all over the Country. Click here for an article on the sale and here for local news coverage of this event. Click the picture above for more pics...
The call to action from this meeting, is that we need to contact the Forest Service and our elected Representatives NOW during the 30 day "comment period" to stop this and other sales around the Country. Write:
USDA Forest Service
Or visit the brand-new US Forest for Sale site.
House approves $92 billion for wars and Katrina cleanup
The House voted 348-71 today, approving $92 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for Hurricane Katrina cleanup. The amount was slightly less than what the president sought. Bush praised the House vote and urged the Senate follow suit. Despite concerns over budget shortfalls, both House Republicans and Democrats were reluctant to vote against the measure because doing so could have invited election-year criticism that lawmakers were abandoning soldiers or hurricane victims.
Abramoff's sentencing delayed
A federal judge delayed sentencing Jack Abramoff today in response to his prosecutors' request to further the former lobbyist's cooperation with their investigation. Citing Abramoff's cooperation, investigators wanted to defer sentencing until at least June, as opposed to holding a status conference next week that could have lead to Abramoff's sentencing. In January, Abramoff plead guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion.
Controversy over St. Patrick's day parade
Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day Parade committee chairman John Dunleavy fueled controversy when he refused to allow the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization from participating in the biggest St. Patrick's Day parade in the world. The Roman Catholic event organizers have long refused to let gays and lesbians march as a group in the parade because the church believes homosexuality is wrong. Dunleavy compared allowing a gay group to join the march to allowing neo-Nazis to participate in an Israeli parade.
Please take a few minutes and complete Democracy for America's new 2006 membership survey. Unlike many other organizations, DFA is built from the bottom-up, not the top-down. Your feedback and support is the foundation of everything that Democracy for America does.
The 2006 DFA membership survey will help us determine more about the interests and priorities of DFA members across the country. It will also help us develop future initiatives and campaigns to fit the interests of DFA members.
With this week marking the third year anniversary of the war in Iraq, it is more important than ever to send responsible leaders to Washington. Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch are two of these leadersthat's why Democracy for America is supporting them for the United States Senate and House of Representatives from Vermont.
Time and again, Bernie has stood up to the radical right-wing and fought for our agenda. As the only Independent member of Congress, Bernie has focused on the needs of the peopleworking families, the middle class, the elderly, children and the poor. This year, he's running to take his unique brand of independence to the United States Senate.
But it's not going to be easy. Bernie is up against the richest man in Vermont, someone with virtually unlimited wealth, who has already given his campaign over $2 million and is on pace to spend more money per voter than any other Senate candidate in history.
Bernie also faces the smear tactics of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," the infamous right-wing group. Their leader, John O'Neill, wrote in an e-mail that he is on "A mission to stop the most dangerous liberal in America from winning election to the U.S. Senate," Bernie Sanders.
Bernie has earned the admiration of DFA members across Vermont, but he needs your help to fight back against the Republican money machine. Please contribute to his campaign today:
No one understands better than Bernie what is at stake in Vermont, which is why both he and DFA are supporting Peter Welch for the United States Congress in one of the top 10 House races in the country.
Peter has led the fight for better health care, renewable energy, and fiscal responsibility as a state senate leader. He's passionate about demanding accountability for the President's misguided policies and putting a stop to this rubber-stamp Congress. And we can count on Peter to follow in Bernie's footsteps as a champion of working Americans on Capitol Hill.
Peter's Republican opponent has also hired the media firm famous for creating the "Swift Boat" ads that attacked John Kerry and has even taken GOP money from Tom DeLay's protégé, Roy Blunt. Vermont can only anticipate what is on the way.
The choice in Vermont's congressional race is simple. Please join us in supporting Peter Welch for Congress today:
Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch have great records of support for working families. They will continue to work hard for all Americans, but they need your help now in order to win in November.
Thank you for everything.
March 16, 2006
Kos reprinted (with permission) Charlie Cook's column on Howard Dean and the necessity of Governor Dean's 50-state strategy. Cook marveled at the full-time DNC staffer assigned to party-building in Mississippi: "In the 33 years that I have been involved in politics, I have never heard of the national Democratic Party assigning a full-time staff member to organizational efforts in Mississippi." He comes out against the Pelosi/Reid mentality that the only places to send support are those eight or nine states with "winnable" races.Although organizing in Mississippi might not seem important to Pelosi and Reidafter all, the state won't have competitive House or Senate races this yearat some point, conservative Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor will retire, and then the House Democratic leadership may see the wisdom of their party already having a presence in southern Mississippi. When Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott retire, the Senate Democratic leadership just might have a similar revelation. Keep in mind that if Lott had opted to retire at the end of this year, as many had expected, Democrats would have had a pretty fair shot at winning that seat by running former state Attorney General Mike Moore.
The Democratic congressional leaders' shortsighted, penny-wise/pound-foolish complaints show why their party has become bicoastal. Congressional Democrats have trouble winning in many interior states, in part because leaders like Reid and Pelosi have failed to appreciate the importance of maintaining a strong national party apparatus. The Democrats' inability to consistently win elections in places where gun shops outnumber Starbucks is a big reason the party controls neither the House nor the Senate.
Right now, one of the biggest obstacles to Democrats' taking the House back is their failure to recruit strong candidates in many Republican-held districts that ought to be in play. Party building means lining up a solid teamorganizing and winning lower-level offices that give the party a talented bench from which to draw for higher contests.
We here at DFA happen to agree, like Governor Dean's 50-state strategy and Democracy Bonds program, we're electing progressive candidates in down-ballot races to create a foundation for change. Check out the 2006 DFA-List candidates for some hand-picked candidates that you can help.
Every week DFA members across the nation activate their communities, spread the Progressive DFA message, and communicate with our elected officials. A few of the unifying themes that the Southern DFA groups rally behind are ending the Iraq war, ensuring physically verifiable elections, and holding our elected officials accountable for their actions. As the South goes about holding candidate forums, members are sure to let their voices be heard, and hold the candidates accountable to Progressive ideals.
Houston DFA is showing people how they can be more involved with the election process. 'Participating In your Democratic Party Senate District Convention' is the current training guide they have posted on-line to help members understand how to effectively influence the State Democratic Platform and its Party leaders. Group organizer, Phillip McNutt, reminds members that, "...to 'make our voices heard' we must be an active part of the political process."
Boulder DFA and Las Vegas DFA are urging members to write their Senators about the Feingold motion on the floor to censure the President. On Tuesday, Senator Feingold introduced a motion to censure President Bush for illegally wiretapping Americans and purposely avoiding FISA laws. Boulder DFA offers talking points people can use in the letters that include the fact that in America, no man is above the law and we need not wait for an investigation because the President has already admitted to sidestepping FISA laws. Both groups are urging us all to write Senator Feingold to say thank you in addition to writing our local Senators to support his motion for censure.
DFA Santa Monica decided to help Floridians by asking their members to write Florida State Senators, Representatives, and election officials about creating a verifiable election process. Working with VoteTrust, USA, the letter they are asking people to write scolds Florida officials for mistreating, deliberately ignoring, and rejecting recommendations by Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho. Sancho ran the same tests that the state of California ran that determined that there is severe security vulnerabilities in the Diebold voting system; because of the tests, the State decided to take Leon County's $564,421 in HAVA funds away, threatened Mr. Sancho, personally, with legal action, and said voting system vendors cannot do business with him.
While the Bush ignited election reform debacles rage throughout the country, groups still have the energy to tackle other issues important to its members. DFA Miami and the Coral Park Young Dems participated in the UofM janitor strike organized by the SEIU and UofM political group, STAND ...which is headed by longtime DFA member, Jake Coker-Dukowitz. The janitors at UofM are currently receiving $6.40 an hour on average, and have no health benefits. 2 weeks ago, in conjunction with the SEIU, janitors decided to strike in hopes of gaining health care benefits and a livable wage. The strike continues today.
March 15, 2006
Hello Blog for America! Before I start to describe my chapter in Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win, I'd first like to say that even though I have been blogging on the front page over at MyDD for nearly two years now, being able to post here is the thrill of my blogging career. I spent nearly all of 2003 reading every post and every comment on Blog for America, as we all followed the campaign that changed us all. Also, for much of 2005, I was on the Steering Committee for Philly DFA, and I am very happy to be here tonight.
My article in the book focuses on several meta-blogging issues on which I have written extensively over at MyDD.
Now before I go into my answers to these questions, I want to note that one of the things I have learned from my experiences as a blogger and my new experience in being published in print is that compared to the world of the blogosphere, the world of book publishing moves very, very slowly. Rarely, if ever, have I written something on MyDD that I fully expected to stand up without any need of revision for a period of ten months. While I am proud of the work I produce on MyDD, I also like to think of blogging as a way to record my thoughts as they develop and change, rather than as something that will be recorded in posterity. This is not even to mention the fact that the netroots and the blogosphere is an extremely new phenomenon, and the general parameters for discussing the nature of the blogosphere have not been very well developed. Given all of this, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that many of the ideas I wrote about last May have undergone a decent amount of revision in my own mind. However, since the main purpose of this book is to start a conversation among people on how we can all push for a more progressive America, I don't think this is a problem. These ideas are open for discussion, not written in stone.
Live Online Discussion with Chris Bowers Tonight
Join Chris Bowers of the political blog MyDD.com for a live blog discussion on Blog for America tonight at 9:00pm EST. He will be discussing his chapter on "Blogging for Political Change" in the book Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win.
Congressional panel to study Iraq war
Today, Congress unveiled an independent, bipartisan panel to study the Iraq war and make policy reccomendations for both the White House and Capitol Hill. The group is led by former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, and Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, and, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) was designed to focus "fresh eyes" on the war debate from people who "love their country more than their party."
Bush urged to bring new blood to staff
CNN learned today that friends and confidantes of President Bush to persuade him to bring in at least one seasoned Republican to help his struggling staff. Anonymous sources have said that some veteran Republicans have been quietly trying to convince White House chief of staff Andy Card to bring in an "experienced hand," to help the President reach out to congressional leaders.
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